Reappraising the ‘Art of Counting’. An international symposium to celebrate 500 years of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor

Reappraising the ‘Art of Counting’. An international symposium to celebrate 500 years of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor

Friday 9 September 2022 - 12.00 to Saturday 10 September 2022 - 16.00
University of Durham

The British Society for the History of Mathematics and the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University are currently organizing a two-day symposium aimed at exploring and re-assessing the significance of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor, a tract on arithmetic that was widely received across Europe in its day and that holds the honour of being the first work devoted exclusively to mathematics to have been printed in England.

The symposium will bring together intellectual historians and historians of mathematics and will seek to illuminate aspects of the life and work of the Yorkshire-born humanist, who began his academic studies at Balliol College, Oxford, before proceeding to Padua where he studied under Niccolò Leonico Tomeo and Pietro Pomponazzi. It is anticipated that some contributors will focus on De arte supputandi itself, or its relation to Luca Pacioli’s Summa, while others will consider Tunstall’s place alongside contemporary humanist scholars from Britain and Ireland who pursued their studies in Italy. Others still might consider the continental reception of De arte Supputandi or seek to place the author’s scientific work in the context of his diplomatic employments by Wolsey or his role as Prince-Bishop of Durham. Public outreach events will include an exhibition on the life and work of Tunstall and a public lecture by Travis Williams (Rhode Island).

The meeting runs Friday lunchtime to Saturday lunchtime. At present we expect it to take place in person. Accommodation for up to 40 people will be available at Durham University.

The programme will include a visit to the Tunstall exhibition, a public lecture by Travis Williams, and a visit to the rare mathematical books in the Ushaw Library just outside Durham.

Speakers include:

  • Travis Williams (Rhode Island)
  • Daniel Antonio Di Liscia (Munich)
  • Stefano Gulizia (Milan)
  • Thomas Henderson (Durham)
  • Harald Gropp (Heidelberg)
  • Deborah Kent (St Andrews)
  • Satyanad Kichenassamy (Reims)
  • Fenny Smith (Independent)

Further details to follow